This Craster and Howick walk guide directs you on a lovely walk, starting in Craster and taking in some beautiful fields and woodland before finishing with a walk along the coast. It is only 6 miles long but still a very varied walk.
Start/end point: Tourist Information Centre (NU 25607 19838).
|Ascent:||Flat coastal walk.|
|Distance:||6 miles (9.6km)|
|Grade:||Moderate – flat, medium distance|
Start: Craster Tourist Information (OS Grid Reference NU 25599 19834). There is a Pay & Display car park here, as well as toilets and the Pipers Pitch catering van, famous for the Kipper Bun.
From the Tourist Information Centre, walk into the Arnold Memorial Nature Reserve. The entrance to the nature reserve is on the right, just before the entrance to the quarry car park. Follow the path through the reserve. When the path forks, take the left side. You will arrive at a kissing gate. Go through this and into the field.
Cross the field to the southwest, up towards a wall at the top of the field. The woodland around Craster House will be on your right. Pass through another kissing gate and onto the road.
Cross the road and walk up the road directly across from the gate. After about 100m, you will see a row of terraced cottages, on your left. Behind these, you will see a finger post, showing a path along a farm track. Go through the gate and follow the track south for about 500m.
When the track bends to the left, you will see some high ground, with an escarpment to its west side. Look to your left and you will see a gate. Use this gate to enter the field ahead of you and walk towards the bottom of the escarpment. This is Hips Heugh.
Follow the path roughly south across the field, looking out for a ladder stile next to a kissing gate in the wall on your left. The finger post directs you towards Howick Hall. Go through the gate, into another field.
Cross the field towards some trees and another gate. Go through the gate to join a bridleway, coming from the right. Follow the bridleway through another gate and round the edge of the field, keeping the trees on the right.
The bridleway leaves the field in the southwest corner, through a gate, and crosses a small bridge across a stream. Continue to follow the bridleway south. This bridleway soon arrives at the entrance to Howick Hall car park. Follow the track to the road.
Take the path alongside the road to your left and head roughly east towards the coast. The path ends at the sign for Howick. Continue east on the road, looking out for traffic.
About 1km from Howick Hall, the road turns north, by a farm. There is a track directly ahead that goes to Rumbling Kern. Instead, take the track to the south, past a small car park. This track is signposted as Cycle Route 1, Alnmouth via the coastal path.
Continue south along this track, for about 1km. The track eventually exits through a gate, to Iron Scars. There is a small bay, with a bridge across Howick Burn here. It makes a good resting place.
To head back to Craster, from Iron Scars, go towards the gate that you just came through. You will see another path heading to the right and along the coast. This is the Northumberland Coast Path. Follow this path.
After about 1km, along the coast path, you will reach Rumbling Kern and you will see the track coming from the left, that we saw earlier. This track is also access to Howick Bathing House. which you will see on your right.
The path continues along the rugged coast, in part alongside the road, towards some high ground with another escarpment on its western side. This is Long Heugh. Go through a gate. The path turns sharp right and towards Cullernose Point.
From Cullernose Point, you can see Craster. Just follow the coastal path north to Craster and take the road back to the starting point.
Arnold Memorial Nature Reserve
The Arnold Memorial Nature Reserve is a small but very pretty little nature reserve, managed by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust. It is a memorial to Dr Lawrence Arnold, one of the founder members of the Trust. Accessibility is good and the entrance is next to the Tourist Information Centre.
A heugh (pronounced (he-uff) is a local term for an escarpment. There are many similar escarpments all the way up the Northumberland coast and inland. They are outcrops of Whin Sill, a hard igneous rock.
Howick Hall was the family home of the Grey family. Not just any Grey family though. This was the family of Earl Grey, famous for the bergamot flavoured tea and the man on top of Grey’s Monument, in the middle of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Bathing House, near Rumbling Kern, was part of the Howick Estate and was used by the family to bathe in the sea.
Howick Hall is still the residence of Lord Howick, but Howick Hall Gardens are open to the public and are definitely worth a visit.
This is a small bay at the mouth of the Howick Burn. It gets its name from an outcrop of ironstone here, which appears as a dark scar on the surrounding rocks.
An odd name for an odd little beach. The beach is secluded and surrounded by rocky walls, making it sheltered even on a windy day.
Craster is a gorgeous little fishing village, with a small harbour. It is situated to the south of Dunstanburgh Castle. Craster is famous for the kipper (smoked herring). If you are feeling peckish, you might like to try the famous Kipper Bun from Pipers Pitch, which is by the Tourist Information Centre, where the walk starts and ends.
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